Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District
General Boundary: 7th Ave to 15th Ave (E/W) and Encanto Blvd to McDowell (N/S)
With its Palm tree-lined streets and non-traditional street grid, the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District is simply stunning all around. The historic district encompasses not just the residential neighborhood but also the 100-acre Encanto Park. It is an awe-inspiring park with ornamental landscaping, meandering lagoons, original buildings in the Spanish Colonial and Art Moderne styles, a vintage carousel, and a 9-hole golf course. The park adds a romantic aspect to this already charming neighborhood.
Originally home to affluent professionals and the business middle class of Phoenix, The Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District was mainly built in the 1920s. It was originally comprised of four unique subdivisions with common, integrating characteristics. The district features prominent displays of Spanish Colonial / Mediterranean, English Tudor Revival, Regency Revival, French Provincial, Monterrey Revival, and Pueblo Revival architecture. Not originally included in the district are homes built later in the post-war era. These styles include Ranch and Moderne, however, the pre-war architecture noted in the neighborhood is what really sets Encanto-Palmcroft apart as a distinct and unique historical district.
The 19th century, picturesque, romantic suburb of the Unites States was injected with a new sense of understanding and new possibilities by the Garden City and the City Beautiful movements. Municipal art societies of the early 20th century preached the benefits of innovative street plans, tree-lined streets, ornamental luminaries, and city parks. At the end of World War I, several structured and picturesque suburbs were planned and built throughout the United States. Palmcroft and Encantoreflect this trend of the time.
The original Encanto and Palmcroft neighborhoods have an identical street plan consisting of a curving streets that form noticeable squares. The West Encanto subdivision, intended to be identical to Encanto, was developed only along the periphery, and does not feature an unusual street pattern like the others. The curvilinear street plans of Palmcroft and Encanto are dramatically different from the rectilinear grids of the surrounding neighborhoods. The Palmcroft subdivisions feature palm tree-lined streets and all portions of the district feature ornamental luminous streetlamps. These common features, while unifying each subdivision internally, knit all four together into a distinctive neighborhood different from any other in Phoenix.
Palmcroft was original developed in 1927 by the Dwight B Heard Investment Company. Heard is a notable name still to today and was instrumental to the development of Arizona in the early 20th century. Another district Heard is known for is Los Olivos to the east, closer to 7th St. The brochure for Palmcroft asked the question, “Why is Palmcroft the ideal?,” and proceeded to answer by citing the “contemplated palm bordered winding drives”, and its “quiet and clean” location “only five minutes by auto from downtown.” Original purchase prices ran from $850 to $2,000 per lot. Restrictions included a $5,000 to $6,500 minimum construction cost for each house. Palmcroft was an immediate success, and a year later Heard introduced a second Palmcroft subdivision west of the original Palmcroft. The new Palmcroft formally opened early in 1929.
The Encanto neighborhood was originally developed by Lloyd Larkin and George Peter, two grocery business owners who sold their stakes and entered the business of real estate development. The plot plan was drawn up by the same surveyor as Palmcroft, hence the similarities. Key differences in the Encanto neighborhood include the installation of a modern irrigation system and orange and pepper trees instead of palm trees. The types of homes offered in Encanto were mainly southwestern in style, such as Pueblo Revival and Spanish Colonial. Another key difference included the minimum cost to build in Encanto, which far exceeded that of Palmcroft subdivisions (between $10,000 and $12,000 depending on the location).
Encanto-Palmcroft is a spectacular display of historic architecture and early Arizona history. While prices are among the highest of the historic neighborhoods, Encanto-Palmcroft offers the best of historic housing in Phoenix.
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